Memphis Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins says he wasn't trying to embarrass the Brooklyn Nets by leaving his starters in late in the fourth quarter of his team's 101-77 victory on Jan. 25 -- he was just trying to win the game.
Hollins also offered a less than heartfelt apology to Nets power forward Reggie Evans, who was upset that the Grizzlies elected to re-insert center Marc Gasol (20 points and nine rebounds) leading by 22 with 3:21 left in the game.
"Apologies to Reggie Evans, but I wasn't thinking about the Nets and trying to embarrass them and all that stuff," Hollins said prior to Sunday night's Nets-Grizzlies game at Barclays Center.
"If Reggie Evans wants to take umbrage at what happened with 11 minutes go in the fourth quarter at the start of the fourth quarter when they take all their guys out and we leave our guys in, you know, that's on him. By the way, Reggie Evans has played great against us every time we've played him."
Evans said following the 24-point loss: "We won't be forgetting. ... We're definitely going to look forward to when that day comes where we play (Memphis again)."
Evans wasn't fired up on Sunday morning, though, saying, "To be honest with you, I haven't really been thinking about that junk because we got beat by Houston the following day."
Hollins explained his decision to leave his starters in.
"We were beat by 20 three times in a row. The other team can do what they want when they're up by 20 points. It doesn't matter," Hollins said. "We don't deserve any kind of courtesies, and I wasn't trying to leave my starters in the game. It just so happened they were in the game and we couldn't get them out. I don't know. Respect comes from going out there and battling and doing your job and competing and being in the game.
"We've been out of the game and can't say anything about what anybody does to our team. They want to dance and do whatever they want to do, we should've stopped them on the court and that would've stopped all the dancing."
Evans said the unwritten rule during his days as a player is when the losing team pulls its starters, so does the team that's way ahead on the scoreboard.
"We were 21 down in Philly two years ago, we came back from 27 down in the third quarter, we come back and win the game going away," Hollins said. "You have to do what you have to do as a coach."